Money Matters

IH Cape Town

Money Matters

The unit of currency is the South African RAND, expressed as ZAR, which is divided into 100 cents. Notes are in R200, R100, R50, R20 and R10 denominations. Coins are in denominations of R5, R2, R1 and 50c, 20c, 10c and 5c.


Value Added Tax (VAT) of 15% (as of 1 April 2018) is levied in South Africa. Overseas visitors taking goods out of South Africa are able to reclaim the VAT paid on goods. Reclaiming VAT is only applicable for goods above R250 and you must be able to present for inspection at the airport. When purchasing products you must request a tax invoice if you wish to reclaim VAT. The shop’s VAT number must appear on this invoice. Before you check in at the airport ready to depart from South Africa, you should approach customs officials (clearly designated at all major airports and departure points) who will compare your invoices with the goods purchased. Once invoices have been approved and stamped, the VAT Reclaim Office will refund you the appropriate amount. VAT Reclaim Offices are found at Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town Airports. Please allow plenty of time to do this.

An estimate of what items cost in South Africa:

  • Big Mac (McDonalds Burger) R 50.00
  • A local beer in a restaurant R 20.00
  • A can of Coca-Cola in a restaurant R 15.00
  • Fuel sells at approx. R 13.37 per litre
  • VAT at 15% (as of 1 April 2018) included in above costs.



Banks in South Africa are generally open from 09h00 to 15h30 on weekdays and 08h30 to 11h00 on Saturdays. Most banks change all travellers’ cheques in major currencies, but commission can differ greatly. Rennies Travel is an agent for Thomas Cook and sells and buys all major currencies. American Express has branches in Cape Town Garden Centre, and Nedbank is associated with American Express.

First National Bank is the Visa agent.

Most ATM machines will support your card if it bears the Cirrus logo.

Credit cards

All major credit cards are accepted in South African hotels, restaurants and shops. However, please note that fuel stations do not accept credit cards, so ensure you carry enough cash for your fuel requirements.

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